Boatwif Blog

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Right at the Junction

Aston Marina – Stafford – Tixall Wide: 18 miles, 5 locks After a night at Aston Marina Cleddau crawled out of the marina, turned sharp left and headed south. This was to be her third southbound exit from the marina this year… The Trent and Mersey Canal in the Burston and Sandon area provides pleasing views and many sociable bank side onlookers  Often before there have been hold ups on this stretch and Sandon Lock was no exception. There an...

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 Numbers crunched…

Wedgewood to Aston Marina: 5 ½  miles, 9 locks Just as Cleddau was drawing away from one of her top favourite moorings between Trentham and Barlaston on Friday morning another boat drew in. “How far is it to walk to the Wedgewood Factory from here?” was the question. Boatwif was summonsed from the front deck to explain and advise. It was three months ago that her last visit had been made and shamefully some of the crucial detail was perhaps...

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Names and coincidences

Church Lawton to Wedgewood: 12¼ miles, 12 locks, 1 tunnel  Slowly Cleddau and Tentatrice are making their way towards the Staffs and Worcs Canal. The plan had been to continue south from Chester down the Shropshire Union and to turn left at Autherley Junction onto the Staffs and Worcs. There was a change of plan (another one) when notification was received that a week’s closure was scheduled to repair Wheaton Aston lock, from 31st July to 7th August… An alternative...

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Liaisons

Middlewich to Church Lawton:  11¾ miles, 26 locks Cleddau had cruised across the Middlewich Arm with a definite sense of mission. There were moorings to secure and people to meet. So what was the liaison indicated at the end of the last post? And what was that about the chippie…? It was in 2014 that a little flotilla crossed the Wash together, under the guidance of Wash pilot Daryl Hill. The 3 boat flotilla had first convened at Ely. There...

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Oh colourful world!

Chester – Middlewich: 26 miles, 17 locks It was farewell to Chester on Tuesday morning.    The first part of the route was the ascent of the Northgate triple staircase, aided, fortunately, by a pair of volunteer lock keepers – and supervised, as ever, by the Tentatrice boat dog, Monty. On below the city walls, out into the sunshine at The Lock Keeper, passing the gentrified Steam Mill  – and shortly afterwards, making a stop at the two hour moorings...

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A saunter around a city

A two night mooring at Tower Wharf in Chester gave time for a little bit of local exploration. Not far away is a plaque that will be of interest to canal historians. The efforts of Chester-born LTC Rolt are widely recognised in saving the inland waterways from post-war dereliction. The area around Tower Wharf has been redeveloped: smart apartment blocks and student accommodation overlooks the water.  Telford’s Warehouse is a thriving pub – and on hot summer evenings voices and...

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So how did the Romans manage without Gore-Tex?

Middlewich to Chester: 26 miles, 21 locks A Day Off had been declared in Middlewich, but how would the daylight hours be spent?  It was hot on arrival and Cleddau grabbed a conveniently shady mooring space beneath trees, between the play park and Big Lock. Middlewich is a useful stop: there’s a fish and chippery above King’s Lock, a very helpful DIY store, a Tesco Express – and a bit further away a Lidl and (a few more yards further...

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In threes…

Lymm (Bridgewater Canal) to Middlewich (Trent & Mersey Canal): 27 miles, 3 tunnels, 2 locks.  Three days it took from Lymm to Middlewich (two very different towns in Cheshire, some 27 watery miles apart). On leaving Lymm it was a Sunday, a day when walker, jogger and trip boat numbers are usually high, especially in fine weather.  There were still another 16 or so miles along the Bridgewater Canal to cruise. It was a day of colour – when canal...

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 Liking it in Lymm…

Pennington Flash – Lymm: 24 miles, 0 locks Since Pennington Flash     Cleddau and crew have bumbled along the Bridgewater Canal, passing comment on previously unnoticed items, such as a towing horse at Worsley,  and a totem pole in Sale.     There were boat names that intrigued   and one that amused. Despite the familiarity some landmarks were subjected again to a quick camera shot: here again is the pithead gear at Astley Green Colliery (disused now but there’s...

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Three days on a southbound heading

Rufford to Pennington Flash: 19¼ miles, 15 locks, 3 swing bridges, 1 lift bridge The time at Rufford was over. No more delicious meals in the marina brasserie. No more time to wander through the churchyard   or around the marina grounds. No more unlocking and re-locking the padlock that keeps each mooring jetty secure. No more trundling of goods in a wheelbarrow from car boot to the boat. St Mary’s has been a superb marina in a delightful location...